Is it too hard to adopt a dog from a rescue shelter?
With so many abandoned dogs in the UK needing homes, there are plenty of campaigns by various charities, large and small, that aim to encourage people to adopt one of their dogs. But, many people claim that the adoption process is often too rigorous and too intrusive – is this true and is it fair comment that some adoption centres are too ‘picky’ when it comes to potential adopters? Holidays4Dogs explores this topic and offers some tips for would be adopters if they are considering rescuing a dog.
Many people I personally know, who have visited large charities in order to adopt a rescue dog have made comment about the sometimes lengthy and certainly meticulous approach, staff have when it comes to re-homing a dog in their care.
Now, I am not saying that many criteria that a lot of rescue charities set, are not valid. However, one particular national charity with a branch local to me, insists that all members of the family and other dogs visit the shelter prior to adoption taking place. One of my friends who experienced this, was therefore expected to take along her elderly parent to visit the centre; a person who in no way was going to be responsible for the dog’s care.
Perhaps this may have been a little over the top, but rescue charities are always keen to know exactly who is in the household and what their role is likely to be with regard to the welfare of the dog. Perhaps in this case, an exception might have been made?
This particular charity expects any other dogs in the household to visit the centre for a ‘doggy meet’ to check that the dogs are going to get on and your dog must be up to date with vaccinations.
Many charities nowadays require you to fill out an initial on-line questionnaire in order for staff to match you with a suitable dog, but this is on a first come, first served basis. Thus, if you see a dog you like on a re-homing website, there may already be a queue of people ahead of you.
Many charities also insist upon home visits; generally this is to discover whether you’re garden is suitably fenced and that your house is generally clean and tidy, without major hazards – nobody is going to be running a finger along your mantelpiece checking for dust!
Charities will want to know in particular about your lifestyle and many will refuse to re-home any dog to full time workers. Others are more lenient with this point and will accept dog walkers depending on the temperament and energy levels of the dog being re-homed.
Generally speaking, rescue centres are open to discussion depending on your individual circumstances and most will accept the dog back should things not work out – however, this should not be a reason for either party to go ahead without thorough consideration.
Whether they are large national animal rescue charities, or small local affairs run by volunteers, they know all too well that the numbers of rescue dogs are often overwhelming and being overly strict when it comes to re-homing a dog means that spaces for new dogs coming in, just aren’t available. They are also aware, that if people are denied the opportunity to adopt a dog or puppy from a rescue centre, they are more inclined to go elsewhere – turning possibly to purchasing a dog from the internet.
Having been involved in dog rescue personally, I do know that once you’ve taken a dog in and loved and cared for it, it is very hard to let it go without being tempted to give prospective new owners the third degree.
Largely speaking, any good rescue charity wants only the best for the dogs in its care, so try not to take it personally if you do get turned down. It might be that the dog you have chosen is not a good match, it may mean making some adjustments to your garden or to your working pattern, or considering the option of paying a dog walker. Because dogs seem to be abandoned and given away so flippantly, its easier to understand that rescue charities need to make absolutely sure their charges are being re-homed where they are not likely to be passed on again.
How strict do you think the re-homing process should be? Do you think it’s fair? Have you ever been turned down for a rescue dog and why? We’d love to hear your experiences and comments.